Archive | November 2016

Signs In The Heavens – Biggest Supermoon Since Israel Became A Nation Approaches

By Michael Snyder/End Of The American Dream
.
On November 14th, something extraordinary is going to happen. On that date we will witness the closest full moon that we have seen since 1948. Known as a “supermoon”, this full moon will happen just six days after the U.S. presidential election.
.
If you look up into the night sky on November 14th, you will notice that the moon appears to be much bigger and much brighter than usual.
.
Could it be possible that there is some special meaning to the biggest supermoon in almost 70 years?
.
The last time we witnessed a supermoon of this size Israel become a nation, and as you will see below, many believe that the last couple months of 2016 could have historic significance for the Jewish people as well.
.
Do you remember ever seeing the moon so big in the sky that you felt that you could almost reach up and grab it? Well, on the 14th you may feel that way again. According to CNN, supermoons typically “appear to be 14% bigger and 30% brighter than other full moons”.
.
And without a doubt, what we are about to witness is an extremely rare event. The last time that a supermoon was this close to our planet was in 1948, and it won’t happen again until 2034…
.
The November full moon is not only the closest full moon of 2016, NASA said, but also the closest full moon since 1948 (which is still the last time the Cleveland Indians won the World Series).
.
This is one you might want to watch out for: The full moon won’t come this close to Earth again until Nov. 25, 2034, NASA says.
.
But even though this is a highly unusual event, does that mean that it must have some sort of a special meaning?
.
Of course not, and the truth is that I don’t know if this giant supermoon holds any special significance.
.
However, before we dismiss this phenomenon completely, let’s remember what the Bible has to say. In the Scriptures, we are told that God intended the moon to serve as a “sign” from the very beginning. The following is what Genesis 1:14 says in the Modern English Version…
And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be signs to indicate seasons, and days, and years.”
And Jesus told us that there would be “signs” in the sun and the moon just prior to His return. The following is what Luke 21:25-26 says in the Modern English Version…
.
25 “There will be signs in the sun and the moon and the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; 26 men fainting from fear and expectation of what is coming on the inhabited earth. For the powers of heaven will be shaken.
.
So clearly the Bible tells us that the moon can serve as a sign.
.
But is that happening in this case?
.
I don’t know, but just like as in 1948, it appears that something very significant may be about to happen concerning the nation of Israel.
.
Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal published an article entitled “Obama’s Israel Surprise?” which warned that Barack Obama “may try to force a diplomatic resolution for Israel and the Palestinians at the United Nations” before the end of his term.
.
The options that Obama is reportedly considering include “a resolution formally recognizing a Palestinian state”. The following comes from CNS News…
.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that according to administration sources, “the White House has asked the State Department to develop an options menu for the president’s final weeks.”
.
It said the possibilities could include supporting – or not vetoing – a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements; or a resolution formally recognizing a Palestinian state, or setting “parameters” for a final settlement of the long dispute.

.

If you follow The Most Important News on a regular basis, then you already know that I have been warning about this over and over and over again in recent months. Barack Obama knows that this is his last chance to “leave a legacy” in the Middle East, and at this point the only chance that he has to get something accomplished is at the United Nations.
.
Obama’s last day in office is scheduled to be January 20th, and so he is up against a deadline. Prior to the election he was likely extremely hesitant to make a move because he didn’t want to mess up Hillary Clinton’s chances, but after the election there won’t be anything holding him back.
Perhaps that is why the Obama administration recently told the Palestinians to wait until after the election for something to get done at the UN…
.
On the surface, the latest message to the Palestinian Authority from the Obama administration is no different from the past two decades of American policy: the U.S. will veto any resolution attacking Israel or demanding Palestinian independence without them first making peace with the Jewish state.
.
But, as Haaretz reported, there was one significant caveat to the warning. They were told not to push for any such resolution until after the presidential election next month.
.
The rest of the UN Security Council has been ready to pass a resolution formally establishing a Palestinian state for a long time. The only thing holding it back has been the U.S. veto power.
.
So right now the fate of the land of Israel is in Barack Obama’s hands, and he only has until January 20th to make his final decision.
.
If we do see the land of Israel divided at the United Nations, so many of the things that I talk about in my new book are going to start happening in rapid succession.
.
When we divide their land, our land will be divided as well, and so let us hope that nothing happens at the UN Security Council before the end of Obama’s term.
.
We truly do live in ominous times, and the events of the next several weeks are going to tell us a lot.
.
I have previously described the period of time leading up to January 20th as “the danger zone”, and so much could potentially go wrong during this period of time.

.

President Elect Trump will not be able to directly stop Obama from damaging Israel. But he can do this indirectly by calling on the UK to use its veto. There are a lot of Brits who would like to give the zero a leaving present. So make that call Donald.
Advertisements

Temple Institute Moves Ahead With Plans For Third Temple

By Tom Olago

.

The Temple Institute is unrelentingly pulling out all the stops via a multi-faceted approach to ensure that the 3rd Jewish Temple will finally be built. If sheer zeal and commitment alone could accomplish the project, it would certainly have been accomplished a long while ago.
.
But as Andrew Tobin for the Times of Israel recently reported, the problem for proponents of this project is that the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem is sacred not only to Jews but to Muslims and Christians too.
.
The site includes the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, two of the most significant shrines in Islam.
.
The Temple Institutes growth has coincided with increased mainstream support for Jewish access to the Temple Mount. A large minority of Israelis now opposes the restriction on Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount, according to polls.
 .
The ardent drive to build continues to manifest in various ways. The Temple Institute, dedicated to rebuilding the ancient holy site, is now using new internet tools to bring its message to the masses.
.
A new YouTube video message titled Its Time To Build was released ahead of the Jewish fast day of Tisha BAv (which commemorates the Second Temples destruction in 70 CE by the Romans) as part of the Temple Institutes strategy of using the new tools of the internet to bring its ancient message to the masses.
.
The phrase encapsulates the groups controversial mission to rally Jews to reconstruct the temple that was the heart of their religion until its destruction 2,000 years ago.
.
Tobin further notes that over much of those two millennia, mourning the loss of the temple and longing for its restoration has been central to Jewish thought and practice.
.
Our goal is to raise the consciousness of the Jewish people and all humanity toward the central role that the holy temple plays in the life of mankind, Rabbi Chaim Richman, the Massachusetts-born co-founder and the international director of the Temple Institute said. Were very much focused on getting the message out on all the channels of social media and all the things people are into today. Most of my work is internet related.
.
The Temple Institute focuses on preparing the objects and skills needed for the sacrifice of animals and the esoteric rituals that were carried out by Kohanim, or priests, in front of crowds of Jewish pilgrims before the last temples destruction. All its work is led by a rabbinical council and based on meticulous analysis of Jewish scripture and academic research.
.
The institute has reconstructed nearly all the sacred vessels needed to perform the services in a rebuilt Temple, including the High Priests breastplate featuring the 12 precious stones of the tribes of Israel, the half-ton golden menorah and the musical instruments of the Levitical choir.
.
The group also works to build support for its mission and itself, which is where the internet comes in. After his cable television show that aired in Texas was canceled in 2006, Richman found an audience for his temple-centric scriptural exegesis online.
.
These days, his weekly TV and radio shows are among the 914 videos that appear on the Temple Institutes YouTube channel, which has more than 17,000 subscribers and 4.6 million views. The groups Facebook page has more than 186,000 followers. The Temple Institute email newsletter, which you can sign up for on its website, lands in 24,000 inboxes every week.
 .
Most content is in English, to maximize reach, including to the many evangelical Christians who support the group, many through tax-exempt charities in the U.S. For many evangelicals, the construction of a third Temple fulfills a prophecy about the Second Coming of Jesus.
.
In a further demonstration of commitment to re-establishing the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, the Temple Institute announced it is opening a school for training Levitical priests for their eventual service in a new temple, based on a recent jta.org publication.
.
The institute ran several pilot programs in recent years and now is embarking on a mission to teach Kohanim all the practical skills required to serve in the Third Holy Temple, it said in a statement.
.
According to the Institute, the curriculum at the Nezer HaKodesh Institute for Kohanic Studies will include courses on the Temple service, theory and practice and the role and application of modern technology in the Third Temple.
.
In a separate report, David Israel for jewishpress.com noted that the curriculum at Nezer HaKodesh will also include courses such as The Sacred Temple Vessels Aspects of Engineering and Design; and The Mathematics of the Holy Temple.
.
We are extremely excited to announce this new step toward the restoration of the Holy Temple service. We call first and foremost upon Kohanim worldwide to support this special project, which signifies a return to their birthright.
.
We have chosen to use IndieGogo as a tool to enable as many people as possible to be a part of this historic initiative, Rabbi Chaim Richman, international director of the Temple Institute, said in a statement.
.
Meanwhile, many Jews and Christians await with great anticipation the rebuilding of the 3rd Temple. For Jews, a long-held passionate desire to see the temple restored will finally be fulfilled.
.
For Christians, although there is some debate on the timing of the rebuilding of the temple the overall focus is more on the exciting impact of this eschatological event on Gods prophetic time-clock.
.
It will signal the imminent return of Jesus Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and the fulfillment of the new Heaven and the new Earth under His divine righteous and eternal rulership. (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1)

After Trump Victory, New Era In U.S.-Israel Relations Beckons

By Sean Savage/JNS.org

.

In remarks shortly after Trump’s victory, Netanyahu congratulated the president-elect, calling him a “true friend of the state of Israel.”
.
“The ironclad bond between the United States and Israel is rooted in shared values, buttressed by shared interests and driven by a shared destiny. I am confident that President-elect Trump and I will continue to strengthen the unique alliance between our two countries and bring it to ever greater heights,” Netanyahu said on Twitter.
.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin offered similar congratulatory remarks, but said that Trump will face many challenges as president.
.
“There are many challenges that lie before you as president–at home and around the world. Israel, your greatest ally, stands by you as your friend and partner in turning those challenges into opportunities,” he said.
.
Opposition leader Member of Knesset Isaac Herzog took a more revolutionary tone in his comments, calling Trump’s victory a “continuation of a global trend of disgust with the old, power elite and the desire for swift and direct change.” Trump’s election, he said, is a “social, economic, and leadership tsunami” that could “lead to change in Israel as well.”
 .
Notably, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who leads the national religious Jewish Home party, said he believed Trump’s victory was “an opportunity” to finally abandon a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“Trump’s victory is an opportunity for Israel to immediately retract the notion of a Palestinian state in the center of the country, which would hurt our security and just cause,” Bennett said.
.
“This is the position of the president-elect, as written in his platform, and it should be our policy, plain and simple,” he added.
.
Foreign policy implications
.
While Trump’s campaign heavily focused on domestic issues, Israel and the Middle East–where U.S. troops are currently fighting in Iraq and Syria–played a substantial role in the debate over America’s foreign policy.
.
During the campaign, Trump made it clear that he would repair frayed relations with Israel, tear up the Iran nuclear deal, and move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
.
Shortly before the general election, the Trump campaign issued a strong statement Nov. 2 in support of Israel, reaffirming the then-GOP nominee’s prioritization of the close U.S.-Israel alliance, support for Israel in international bodies such as the United Nations, and support for direct Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations without preconditions.
“The unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel is based upon shared values of democracy, freedom of speech, respect for minorities, cherishing life, and the opportunity for all citizens to pursue their dreams,” said the joint statement issued by Jason Dov Greenblatt and David Friedman, co-chairmen of the Israel Advisory Committee to Donald J. Trump.
.
Following Trump’s victory, Friedman told the Jerusalem Post that the level of friendship between the U.S. and Israel “is going to grow like never before and it will be better than ever, even the way it was under Republican administrations in the past.”
.
From the start of his campaign in 2015, Trump has been consistent in his criticism of the Obama administration’s handling of U.S.-Israel relations as well as the Iran nuclear deal.
In an interview with JNS.org shortly after he announced his presidential candidacy in June 2015, Trump said he considered Obama a “disaster” for Israel, language that the businessman would go on to repeat in Israel-related comments throughout the campaign.
.
“I think President Obama is one of the worst things that’s ever happened to Israel. I think he’s set back [Israeli] relations with the United States terribly, and for people and friends of mine who are Jewish, I don’t know how they can support President Obama. He has been very bad for Israel,” Trump had told JNS.org.
In the same interview, which took place before that summer’s finalizing of the Iran deal, Trump called for stronger inspections on Iran’s nuclear program.
 .
“You’d have to have onsite inspections anytime, anywhere, to start off with, which we don’t have at all. The whole deal is a terrible deal. There’s no way the Iranians are going to adhere to any deal we make,” said Trump, adding that America had a “bunch of babies” negotiating with Iran.
.
Trump reiterated his opposition to the Iran deal during a speech at last March’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference, saying, “My number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran. I have been in business a long time…this deal is catastrophic for Israel, for America, for the whole of the Middle East…We have rewarded the world’s leading state sponsor of terror with $150 billion [in sanctions relief], and we received absolutely nothing in return.” Clinton, meanwhile, has consistently supported the nuclear deal, though she called for a “distrust and verify” approach to monitoring Iran’s compliance with the pact.
.
More recently, Trump has been firm on his support for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the city’s special connection to the Jewish people, especially in the wake of the recent United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) resolutions that ignored the Jewish connection to Jerusalem’s holy sites.
.
In an October statement to JNS.org, Trump said he “will recognize Jerusalem as the one true capital of Israel. Jerusalem is the enduring capital of the Jewish people, and the overwhelming majority of Congress has voted to recognize Jerusalem as just that.”
.
Earlier in the campaign, at a December 2015 conference hosted by the Republican Jewish Coalition, Trump had hesitated to affirm Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital.
.
During the Republican primaries, he also came under fire for comments that he would act as a “neutral” broker in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Trump’s stated Israel policies, however, grew more unabashedly pro-Israel as the campaign progressed.
.
“Donald Trump and Mike Pence are both devoted to our nation’s security and to the well-being of our greatest ally and the bulwark against Islamic terrorism, Israel,” said Richard Allen, co-founder of JewsChooseTrump.org, a grassroots initiative that worked to rally Jewish support for the GOP candidate. “Respect for our allies and unrelenting vigilance against our enemies is the way America will be led going forward.”

.

Originally published at JNS.org – reposted with permission.

Will Donald Trump Fire The Iran Nuclear Deal?

By Sean Savage/JNS.org

.

The election victory by Donald Trump, a billionaire businessman who has never held political office and is a neophyte on foreign policy, has left many observers wondering about the future direction of U.S. policy abroad.
.
Against that backdrop, supporters of Israel are immediately focusing attention on Trump’s approach to the much-discussed Iran nuclear deal, which was approved by the Obama administration and five other Western governments in July 2015.
.
As a presidential candidate, Trump made a variety of comments regarding his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, ranging from calls for stronger inspections to entirely nixing the Obama administration’s signing of the pact.
.
“You’d have to have onsite inspections anytime, anywhere, to start off with, which we don’t have at all. The whole deal is a terrible deal. There’s no way the Iranians are going to adhere to any deal we make,” Trump said in an interview with JNS.org in June 2015, shortly after he had announced his presidential candidacy and before the Iran deal was signed.

.

Trump went further in his opposition to the deal during a speech at last March’s American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference, saying he would “dismantle” the nuclear deal.
.
“My number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran. I have been in business a long time…this deal is catastrophic for Israel, for America, for the whole of the Middle East…We have rewarded the world’s leading state sponsor of terror with $150 billion [in sanctions relief], and we received absolutely nothing in return,” he said.
.
President-elect Trump “has cultivated a fair amount of ambiguity towards how he would approach the Iranian nuclear deal,” said Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior Iran analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) think tank.
.
“Whether this was intentional or not cannot be deduced at this point,” Ben Taleblu told JNS.org. “This ambiguity is best exemplified by Trump’s claims of both renegotiating and tearing up the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Iran deal’s formal name).”
.
Shortly after Trump’s victory, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made it clear that Trump would not be able to unilaterally destroy the deal.
.
“Iran’s understanding in the nuclear deal was that the accord was not concluded with one country or government but was approved by a resolution of the U.N. Security Council and there is no possibility that it can be changed by a single government,” Rouhani told his cabinet, Iranian state TV reported.
.
While Trump has not commented on the deal following the election, one of his top foreign political advisers, Walid Phares, offered some insight into how the president-elect might handle the nuclear agreement, saying it will likely be renegotiated by Trump rather than ripped up.
.
“Ripping up is maybe a too strong of word….He will take the agreement, review it, send it to Congress, demand from the Iranians to restore a few issues or change a few issues, and there will be a discussion,” Phares told BBC Radio.
.
“It could be a tense discussion but the agreement as is right now–$150 billion to the Iranian regime without receiving much in return and increasing intervention in four countries–that is not going to be accepted by the Trump administration.”
.
FDD’s Ben Taleblu believes that Trump will likely resolve to keep the accord intact and instead prioritize cracking down on Iran’s other troubling behavior in the Middle East, such as the Islamic Republic’s sponsorship of terrorism, something for which the Obama administration has often been criticized for not addressing.
.
“I would say [Trump] will keep the accord but feel less restricted about using coercive financial measures to target the rest of Iran’s bad behavior. Whether this is rolled into a larger attempt to renegotiate the accord remains to be seen, as that would involve coordination with the other P5+1 members,” Ben Taleblu told JNS.org.
.
At the same time, Trump may seek a tougher line on Iran’s compliance with the current deal.
.
A recent report compiled by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, found that while Iran has largely struck to its commitments under the deal to not enrich uranium above low purities and to keep its stockpile of uranium below agreed levels, the Islamic Republic has still violated the nuclear agreement.
.
According to the IAEA, Iran surpassed the 130 metric-tonne threshold for the production of heavy water, a material that is used as a moderator in nuclear reactors. Iran has 130.1 tonnes of heavy water, the IAEA report said.
.
“On 2 November 2016, the [IAEA] director general expressed concerns related to Iran’s stock of heavy water to the vice president of Iran and president of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran…Ali Akbar Salehi,” the IAEA said in a confidential report, Reuters reported.
.
This was the second time since the nuclear deal was signed that Iran was found to have exceeded the heavy water limit–in February, Iran had 130.9 tonnes of the material.
.
Unlike the hard limit on uranium imposed by the deal, any excess heavy water is available for export on the international market. As such, the Obama administration did not find any issue with Iran’s heavy water production.
.
“It’s important to note that Iran made no effort to hide this, hide what it was doing from the IAEA,” U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said.
.
As far as the Iran deal is concerned, there are inherent challenges with inspections and enforcement that may pose problems for a Trump administration, Ben Taleblu explained.
.
“The JCPOA set quite a low bar for Iranian compliance,” he told JNS.org.
.
For instance, said Ben Taleblu, “a violation of the deal requires something called ‘significant non-performance’ to occur, which is a vague term. But while the IAEA has offered less data about the Iranian program in the aftermath of the deal, it has routinely attested that Iran was fulfilling its deal related obligations.”
.
As such, Ben Taleblu believes that Iran has been “flouting the spirit of the deal,” and the issue of the Islamic Republic’s heavy water production indicates it is “engaging in incremental cheating.”
.
“This reflects poorly on the deal, as it has no mechanism to formerly punish this,” he said.
.
Regardless of what President-elect Trump will choose to do vis-à-vis the nuclear deal, Iran will also pose a threat to U.S. interests in the Middle East through its direct involvement in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and elsewhere, as well as through its threats to Israel, America’s closest ally in the region.
.
“Given the broad range of issues that separate the U.S. and Iran, I think it is fair to say that Tehran will continue to pose a national security challenge to the next American administration,” Ben Taleblu said.
.
“It too soon to speculate how a different U.S. policy in Syria or other theaters of the Middle East would affect relations with Tehran,” he added, “but Iranian hardliners have so far been trying to recast this entire election to their advantage.”
.
Originally published at JNS.org – reposted with permission

When Top Gun Meets AI – The Coming Era Of Robotic Warfare

By PNW Staff

.

While the public flocks to theaters to be entertained by futuristic thrillers, the U.S. Defense Department is quietly working to make the convergence of artificial intelligence and autonomous robots a present reality.
.
The Defense Department is racing with nations like China to design functional robotic fighter jets that serve as wing men for manned aircraft. Along with semi-autonomous aircraft, the DOD is far along in developing autonomous submarine hunting crafts that can cover thousands of miles of territory without the help of humans.
.
Michael Schrage, a research fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management, speaking of these developments said, “If Stanley Kubrick directed ‘Dr. Strangelove’ again, it would be about the issue of autonomous weapons.”
.
Mankind has a long history of an uneasy alliance with machines that operate independent of human control. From H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds to The Terminator, the possibility of autonomous machines has moved from possibility to fact.
.
The last decade has seen an explosion of revolutionary technologies that make what was once the thing of filmmaker’s imagination to a rapidly approaching reality. Autonomous robotics and artificial intelligence are no longer on the back burner but rather at the forefront of the military technology.
.
Though mostly unnoticed outside defense circles, artificial intelligence is receiving major funding as a part of the Pentagon’s strategy to maintain the U.S. position as the world’s dominant military power.
.
Retired United States Air Force Colonel Gene Lee has logged thousands of hours engaging in simulated battle with artificial intelligence aircraft and has proven, overall, that man remains superior to machines.
.
Lee holds extensive aerial combat experience as an instructor and Air Battle Manager with considerable fighter aircraft expertise and makes a most worthy pilot to test the worthiness of AI’s.
.
Recently, however, the retired top gun has found himself consistently outmaneuvered by a new AI developed by a University of Cincinnati doctoral graduate.
.
The artificial intelligence, titled Alpha, was the victor in that simulated scenario, and according to the Colonel, is “the most aggressive, responsive, dynamic and credible AI I’ve seen to date”.

.

China, Russia, and many other knowledgeable nations are nervous about the matter and the U.S. cannot afford to sit idle. The prospect of robotics in warfare has created anxiety because scientific development tends to run ahead of our ethical and moral consciousness.
.
The implications of Terminator-style robots on the battlefield or Skynet driven drones deciding by themselves who to blast from the skies has become a part of our collective consciousness, and perhaps for good reason.
.
Groups like International Committee for Robot Arms Control, Human Rights Watch and the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots actively advocate an outright ban on the development of autonomous weapons systems (AWS).
.
It has been observed that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity, and humanity has been known to plunge ahead without regard to the possible consequences of its inventions.
.
With self-driving cars now roaming our streets and the exponential growth of artificial-intelligence-driven robotics, the wisest observers say such technologies may not need to be banned but they should be carefully regulated.